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The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations.
Instead, you’ll be covered by the legislation that was in force at the time.
For example, if you experienced race discrimination on 30 September 2010 and want to make a complaint or bring legal proceedings, the Race Relations Act 1976 will apply, not the Equality Act. They will go ahead according to the legislation under which they were brought, even if they may have continued after 1 October 2010.
Before the Act came into force there were several pieces of legislation to cover discrimination, including: If you wish to complain about possible unlawful treatment there are 2 separate processes, depending on when it happened.
If you were subjected to unlawful treatment (eg discrimination, harassment or victimisation) before 1 October 2010, the Equality Act won’t apply.
Equality Act provisions which came into force on 1 October 2010: Ministers are considering how to implement the remaining provisions in the best way for business and for others with rights and responsibilities under the act. Equality Act Provisions that the government has decided not to take forward: The Equality Act 2010 includes provisions that ban age discrimination against adults in the provision of services and public functions.
The ban came into force on 1 October 2012 and it is now unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age unless: The ban on age discrimination is designed to ensure that the new law prohibits only harmful treatment that results in genuinely unfair discrimination because of age.
Find out more about who is protected from discrimination, the types of discrimination under the law and what action you can take if you feel you’ve been unfairly discriminated against.
If you were subject to unlawful treatment on or after 1 October 2010, the Equality Act applies.
For example, if you experienced sex discrimination on 30 September 2010, which continued until 2 October 2010, the Equality Act will apply, not the Sex Discrimination Act.
Find out more about how to complain about unlawful treatment in the Discrimination: your rights guide.
To allow people and organisations enough time to prepare for the new laws, the provisions of the Act were brought in at different times (known as commencement dates).
It does not outlaw the many instances of different treatment that are justifiable or beneficial.